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Crafting Trajectories of Smart Phone Use at the Opera

Greenhalgh, Chris; Hazzard, Adrian; Benford, Steve; Cliffe, Laurence; Kelly, Elizabeth

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Dunford Chair in Computer Science


Losing Her Voice is a new opera which highlights the challenges of subtly interweaving digital technologies into established cultural forms. Audience members were encouraged to use their own mobile phones to interact with on-stage projections before, during and after the performance. We chart the trajectories of participation that were designed into the premiere performances of this work, and how these unfolded in practice. We identify the strategies that were effective to: encourage the adoption of the mobile app; interweave use with the other elements of the opera performance; make it consistent with the content; and ensure it complemented but was not essential to the show. We highlight the way in which three canonical trajectories must be woven together in this experience: the standard trajectory of "a night at the opera"; the dramatic arc of the specific work, and the audience member's use of their own device.


Greenhalgh, C., Hazzard, A., Benford, S., Cliffe, L., & Kelly, E. (2022). Crafting Trajectories of Smart Phone Use at the Opera. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 29(6), 1-37.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 16, 2022
Online Publication Date Jun 8, 2022
Publication Date 2022-12
Deposit Date May 16, 2022
Publicly Available Date Jun 8, 2022
Journal ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction
Electronic ISSN 1557-7325
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 29
Issue 6
Article Number 59
Pages 1-37
Keywords Opera; theatre; trajectories; display ecologies; live performance; audience interaction; mobile phones
Public URL
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